PH Roadshow Woos Australian Investors

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat (Manila Bulletin) August 19, 2017

Australian businesses are expected to invest in the country following a roadshow conducted by the government’s investment promotion agencies in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

The Philippine Investment Promotion Plan (PIPP) investment road show to Australia was organized by the Board of Investments (BOI) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in collaboration with the Australia Philippines Business Council, headed by its President Ed Acordo.

The PH team was led by DTI Undersecretary Rowel Barba and composed of key officers of BOI, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), Authority of the Freeport of Bataan (AFAB), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), Clark Development Corporation (CDC), Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority (ZCSEZA), Mindanao Development Authority (MINDA), and the Regional Board of Investments of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-ARMM).

Secretary Raul L. Lambino, administrator and chief executive officer of CEZA, who presented the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program of the government, told Australian businessmen to seize new trade and investment opportunities that have opened up in the Philippines since President Rodrigo

Lambino said Australian investors are expected to locate some of their big businesses in the Philippines starting next year.

Lambino told Australian businessmen that “remarkable and real change has come to my country.”

He said President Duterte, “in pursuit of what is right” has become a “game-changer” in attracting business leaders around the world to take a closer look at the Philippine market.

The government has rolled out a five-year P9.5-trillion infrastructure build-up under the “Dutertenomics,” economic framework with heavy spending on roads, bridges, airports and seaports that would make the country an “excellent haven for investment and business to thrive,” Lambino said.

Other support programs are being firmed up in agriculture, eco-tourism and the industry-leading business outsourcing management ventures, he said.

These are areas of “deep interests for Australian investors,” Lambino said.

This year, the Philippines became the 10th fastest growing economy in the world, which Lambino said is the result of the Duterte Administration’s transparent and accountable governance and the continuing war against corruption, criminality, and drugs.

Lambino also said that “growth is getting more inclusive,” citing government records that pegged inflation at a historical low of 1.8 percent last year, and unemployment that fell below five percent at 4.7 percent in October 2016.

“This is significant because there are more jobs available here in the country and we have been sending less OFWs,” he said.

Promoting CEZA, an investment destination in the northeastern Luzon, Lambino pointed out its strategic location near major ports and cities in the Asia-Pacific region and along international sea routes that lead to Australia and the US West Coast.

Lambino said the Duterte administration’s thrusts would favor investments in eco-tourism, agri-industrial ventures, and ICT development where he added several Australian firms have already expressed their interest to locate at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, BCDA, SBMA, CDC, AFAB, ZCSEZA, MINDA and RBOI-ARMM.

“Australia is a close friend and ally. We have our Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the Australians and they know that we are a grateful nation and people and we do not forget their sacrifices in World War II when many of them fought and died with us during the war,” added Lambino.